Parlour has recently been recognised by the Michelin Guide for the quality of its food, and I can certainly attest to this, having had a fantastic meal there. The venue is quite out of the way, down the tiny, incongruously-named Regent Street in Kensal Rise, but this is no hindrance to its popularity. On a Sunday lunchtime, the place was full, and although there is a yummy mummy vibe, there are plenty of couples and groups of friends here too.
The look of the place is best described as urban/glam industrial/shabby chic, with reclaimed furniture, whitewashed walls and cast iron artworks on display, contrasting with the marble-topped tables and red leather banquettes. A good-sized wine list (all available by the glass), lots of craft beer on draught (including their own flavourful lager made specially in Belgium), and some bespoke cocktails are a tempting way to sharpen your appetite.
Now it may seem odd to begin a meal review with the bread, but Parlour’s soda bread (apparently made with black treacle) is a work of genius. Delicious with a hint of sweetness, it’s all you can do not to scoff the lot, but you know from reading the menu and looking around at what your fellow diners are eating that you need to leave some space for the treats to follow.
The Cow Pie, which frankly I chose entirely because of its name, is a large beef pie, beautifully even-brown on top and with a marrowbone added for flavour during cooking. And boy, is it flavourful! The beef is melt-in-your-mouth succulent, and comes in a very rich gravy. Probably best not to order sides with this – it’s a meal in itself and definitely a winter warmer.
The pulled pork with apple sauce was presented in a reformed patty, and really was delicious with a very nice apple sauce and a generous helping of gravy on the side. Again, it was really rich and indulgent tasting.
The desserts were described to us as ‘nostalgic’, and include arctic rolls, a ‘tidy’ Eton mess and yummy salted caramel Rolos. But the real show-stopper here is the toasted marshmallow wagon wheel. Two biscuits the size of a bagel are brought to your table, one covered in chocolate sauce and the other with little marshmallows. Then, a bit of theatre: the waitress melts the marshmallow with a blowtorch, and you put the two halves together to make the most decadent and tasty dessert imaginable.
Cool surroundings, a convivial clientele, super-efficient and friendly service and superb food make Parlour somewhere definitely worth seeking out.
5 Regent Street
Tel: 0208 969 2184